Corvair in Action, The
- Publication date
- Public Domain
- Automobiles: Advertising
- Digitizing sponsor
- Chevrolet Division, General Motors Corporation
Automobiles (Chevrolet Corvair) Chevrolets Automobiles (Running shots)
- 2002-07-16 00:00:00
- Closed captioning
- United States
- Run time
Subject: Putting the controversy aside...
Subject: review deleted
Also, the styling of early 1960s cars is starting to grow on me.
Subject: you can not use this on you tube
Subject: I owned a Corvair
Second, as I stated before, I'm a former owner of a 1965 Chevrolet Corvair and I have to say it was one of the best handling cars I've ever driven. The reviewer who mentioned putting sand bags in the bonnet was correct as the benefits were two fold. It helped keep the front wheels planted firmly and could be used when you encountered ice on the driveway.
As far as Corvairs killing teens, I was 16 when I bought my Corvair from my uncle and I had one accident in the car where a nut job in a Camaro ran a red light and slid into my front fender making a fist sized dent in the steel. Had I been driving my son's Suzuki Sidekick in that accident, the nose of the Sidekick would have been demolished. Regarding the excerpts from John Delorean's book about teens expiring in Corvairs I say "DUH!" It was a cheap sexy car and lots of teens were driving them. I've lost many friends in "supposedly safer" cars doing stupid things so of course it follows that teens died in Corvairs.
I loved my Corvair and only sold it to help pay to get into college. If I could trade my 1978 Triumph Spitfire (swing-axle rear end also) for a 65-69 Corvair, I would in a NY minute!
Subject: Interesting film.
Subject: Owned two back in the mid-60's
A cheap crappy little car that could have been decent had those at GM given up a tad of the profits and put it back into better engineering.
This films shows the sneaky,deceit that has been part of American Advertising for a long time.
Great American Propaganda at it's best!
Subject: Turbo This Turkey....
Subject: Still pissed off, are we?
This is like Jane Fonda and the veterans--gearheads are still mad at Nader for the Corvair's demise.
Subject: Intetesting visual record
To respond to a reviewer below: Mr Nader did indeed take on the VW Beetle, in his 1960s book UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED. He described the safety issues of more than one car.
I used to know a Corvair collector. He had several, and I got to sit in and ride more than one. It was just another clunky old car. The main problem seemed to be the transmissions, which would randomly lock up in the then-vintage vehicles. While the Corvair may have been no more unsafe than many cars of its era, it does bear the distinction of being the car that killed Ernie Kovacs. Bad Corvair. Bad.
Subject: Bad press
I owned a 1964 Monza Spyder, and loved it, swing axle and all. Later, a 1969 Corsa turbo coupe. Wonderful styling, and the performance was wonderful. By this time, the rear suspension had changed from the swing axle, to I.R.S., making the handling a little slippery, but manageable.
People need to remember that Mr. Nader was running for a public office at the time of his fabled attacks, and since there is no such thing as bad publicity, he made a name for himself.
Another item to keep in mind was the period. The cars of the day, 1960, did not handle very well, no not even the highly touted Corvette. Take a '60 Impala around the same corner as the Corvair, and watch the body roll. It's ugly. So, with all this aside, one other car, the VW. Swing axle, rear engine, gas tank in front of windshield. Made of considerably thinner material. Large number of fatalities involved over the years. Did Mr. Nader go after VW? No. Maybe he should have.
The Corvair was a well designed car, just a little ahead of it's time, If you ever have the chance, look at one, closely. Try to understand that the car you are looking at was a new design coming along just after the innovative '55,56 and'57 vintage.
So, now that this has been said, just enjoy the flim for what it is. The Corvair will never be built again, so all you flamers are safe.
Subject: Exactly like the ad states
Nader was a bed wetter that needs his diaper changed, or stuffed in his pie hole. LOL !!!!
Subject: 1960 commercial makes the Corvair appealing
Subject: Cool Little Cars
This is a nice little short film. I don't remember any six minute commercials running back then.
Subject: Capitalist Greed Junk
Subject: Different Kind of Car
Subject: Underrated Car
Subject: awesome vintage footage
check out our mashup:
Subject: NICE car!
Subject: Great fim, great car
Subject: Corvair! Ahead of its time
Subject: Power, traction and ruggedness
Subject: Entertaining car and film
If the wedge-makers had ever come up with a promo as good as this, no doubt they'd still be in production. This film is a tribute to America's most innovative car and fun to watch.
Subject: Okay, I'm sold!
Subject: Hey "Corsa"
Subject: John De Lorean on the Corvair
Interestingly, I have a book by John Z. Delorean (with J. Patrick Wright) called "On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors." (AVON books,copyright 1979 by J. Patrick Wright). Here are some excerpts that both sides may find interesting which deal with the Corvair.(from pages 65-68):
These problems with the Corvair were well documented inside GM's Engineering Staff long before the Corvair ever was offered for sale. Frank Winchell, now vice-president of Engineering, but then an engineer at Chevy, flipped over one of the first prototypes on the GM test track in Milford, Michigan. Others followed.
The questionable safety of the car caused a massive internal fight among GM's engineers over whether the car should be built with another form of suspension. One side of the argument was Chevrolet's then General Manager, Ed Cole, an engineer and product innovater. He and some of his engineering colleagues were enthralled with the idea of building the first modern, rear-engine, American car. And I am convinced they felt the safety risks of the swing-axle suspension were minimal. On the other side was a wide assortment of top-flight engineers, including D. Polhemus, engineer in charge of Chassis Development on GM's Engineering Staff, and others.
These men collectively and individually made vigorous attempts inside GM to keep the Corvair, as designed, out of production or to change the suspension system to make the car safer. One top corporate engineer told me that he showed his test results to Cole but by then, he said, "Cole's mind was made up."
Albert Roller, who worked for me in Pontiac's Advanced Engineering section, tested the car and pleaded with me not to use it at Pontiac. Roller had been an engineer with Mercedes-Benz before joining GM, and he said that Mercedes had tested similarly designed rear-engine, swing-axle cars and had found them far too unsafe to build.
At the very least, then, within General Motors in the late 1950s, serious questions were raised about the Corvair's safety. At the very most, there was a mountain of documented evidence that the car should not be built as it was then designed.
. . . The results were disastrous. . . Young Corvair owners, therefore, were trying to bend their car around curves at high speeds and were killing themselves in alrming numbers.
. . . The son of Cal Verner, general manager of the Cadillac Division, was killed in a Corvair . . .The son of Cy Osborne, an executive vice-president in the 1960s, was critically injured in a Corvair and suffered irreparable brain damage. Bunkie Knudsen's niece was brutally injured in a Corvair. And the son of an Indianapolis Cherolet dealer was also killed in a Corvair . . .
When Knudsen took over the reins of Cherolet in 1961, he insisted that he was given corporate authorization to install a stablizing bar in the rear to counteract the natural tendencies of the Corvair to flip off the road. The cost of the change would be about $15 a car. But his request was refused by The Fourteenth Floor as "too expensive."
Bunkie was livid. As I understnad it, he went to the Executive Committee and told the top officers of the corporation that, if they didn't reappraise his request and give him permission to make the Corvair safe, he was going to resign from General Motors. This threat and the fear of the bad publicity that surely would result from Knudsen's resignation forced management's hand. They relented. Bunkie put a stabilizing bar on the Corvair in the 1964 models. The next year a completlely new and safer independent suspenion designed by Frank Winchell [the "diagonal pivot swing axle" by the way] was put on the Corvair. And it became on the of safest cars on the road. . . .
There wasn't a man in top GM management who had anything to do with the Corvair who would purposely build a car that he knew would hurt or kill people. But, as part of a management team pushing for increased sales and profits, each gave his individual approval in a group of decisions which produced the car in the face of the serious doubts that were raised about its safety, and then later sought to squelch information which might prove the car's deficiencies.
. . . In April of 1971, 19 boxes of microfilmed Corvair owner complaints, which had been ordered destroyed by upper managment, turned up in the possession of two suburban Detroit junk dealers. When The Fourteenth Floor found this out, it went into panic and we at Chevrolet were ordered to buy the microfilm back and have it destroyed.[End of excerpts]
One of the things that "corsa" mentioned is the fact that Porsche -- certainly one of the most prestigous autos on the road -- used the same rear-engine, swing axle design for ages. But isn't it also true that while these Porsches that used this method were known for the their agility -- that 1)at the same time their handling characteristics have been described as "tricky" by professional drivers because of this design and 2) that only truly experienced drivers are able to exploit the positive characteristics of the rear-engine, simple swing-axle? (These tricky characteristics would tend to be more present in the older rear-engine Porsches, for continued development has constantly improved this design.)
Likewise, Porsche is obviously more committed into thorough testing and R&D than GM is (and was!) before releasing a product line. Hence their extreme cost comparatively. Historically, GM has had many more recalls dealing with safety problems than Porsche, as you might expect.
For me, back in my youth, I tended to listen more to Brock Yates and the like. While I still respect those on that side of the argument, I think they should not be the only ones to listen to in this apparently endless controversy. (Nor the NHTSA, for that matter, since often gov't entities are no more immune from corporate influence -- or for that matter, simple mistakes -- than anyone else -- as I am sure Brock Yates would agree with!).
Subject: Great video! but poor review by Wedgehead
we learn about in elementary school. At least ten spelling error but why dwell on it, Mr. Wedgehead obviously canÂt spell. Lets get down to cases and try to figure out what MR Wedgehead is talking about . Now Wedgie the so called engineer rambles on about how the design of the independent rear suspension of the first generation Corvairs was a result of faulty engineering. Wedgie the so called engineer should know, isnÂt that right?? Hey Wedgie, how about the two other cars of the era with the same type swingaxle design. You happen to recall the names of those two automobiles, with the ÂdeathtrapÂ style swingaxle rear suspensions. Oh yeah, I remember, the Volkswagen beetle and that awful handling Porsche. I canÂt understand why GM would want to used the same type of rear suspension as that terrible handling awful Porsche. Your description of the rear suspension was also in error Wedgie my boy. For an engineer you sure need to bone up.
The rear suspension consists of a Swingaxle. Two control arms, upper and lower are what you would find on the front suspension, are we getting our directions mixed up Wedgie? You seem to be spouting the same old tired rhetoric that was disproved many years ago. In 1972, the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration found that the 1960-63 handled at least as good as other contemporary vehicles both foreign and domestic. I quote ÂThe handling and stability performance of
the 1960-1963 Corvair does not result in an abnormal potential for loss of control or rolloverÂ. So Wedgie the so called engineer, I guess the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has confirmed that you donÂt know what youÂre talking about.
Now that we have shown that your engineering expertise is totally suspect, lets
examine your claim that the video is deceptive. Speaking of deceptive, the death of Ernie
Kovacs was tragic, but you failed to mention that he was drunk and wrapped his car around a pole. The car did not roll, which is the deadly handling problem you claimed the Corvair had in your review. The police believed that a combination of Mr. Kovacs unsafe drunk driving, rain slick road and possibly handling a lit cigar contributed to the accident. The safety of the vehicle was never listed as a factor. Now who is being deceptive?
Now lets see what your other evidence is. OOPS, after reading your review again,
I find that you donÂt have any evidence from the video. Your evidence consist entirely in your imagination! You say that because they donÂt show the rear wheel during the Road-Bump test, it must be a conspiracy! GM is hiding something. If we follow your twisted reasoning it must be because the rear is defective. Get REAL Wedgie, IÂm sure
the rear wheel went up and down just like the front ones. They have shocks and coils springs in the back too, or didnÂt you know. Then you even top the first delusion with the totally bonehead statement that they video doesnÂt show the complete Figure-8 test because the Driver almost loses control. So Wedgie, where did you get that piece of information? They didnÂt show the whole Figure-8 Test, so how would you know what happens after they cut away? Where you there in 1959
when this was filmed? I doubt it. Just another one of your delusions. That goes for the other imaginary claims you make about the Slalom test and test dummies in the roll over test. Wedgie claims that there are no test dummies in the car are false too. Just like his other claims. You can clearly see the Test Dummies in the car when it rolls over and nothing is ejected. The only Dummy around here is Wedgie.
DonÂt let self styled experts ruin your enjoyment of this really cool vintage car video. The Corvair was a revolutionary car in its day, and many of the innovation it introduced are found in the vehicles we drive today. Sure, cars built in 1960 arenÂt as safe as cars built today. Just donÂt pay attention to misinformation from these so called experts. Reviewers like Mr. Wedgehead who obviously doesnÂt know what heÂs talking about and uses items not shown in the video as his proof.. So as Wedgie so aptly
concluded in his review, Âsit back and enjoyÂ and hopefully he will try to put a little more ÂTRUTHÂ in his next review.
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